Six Eggs and Grace
I saw the eggs first. Summer and Lewie were like nowhere to be found, so I was definitely the first to see them. And I honestly didn’t have a clue how they got on the table like that, just sitting there like a constellation caught mid-orbit in a photograph taken by some fancy NASA satellite. The pink Styrofoam container they belonged in was also absent. Not in the fridge. Not on the counter. Not in the garbage pale, even. It was like just plain gone, but them damn eggs sat there like they was waiting to catch a breeze and roll off onto the floor and end up like Lewie’s dad when he jumped from that ledge: cracked and splatted.
They had to clean Mr. Jones up with a sponge.
What’d they call it in that movie? Cement poisoning? Deceleration trauma? It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end. Regardless, Summer said the photos of him all smashed like that ended up on a website until Mrs. Jones’s attorney somehow got them removed.
Mr. Jones’s fame made people give a holy crap about what he looked like with his insides on the outside. With his yolk all over the kitchen floor beneath that fancy hotel. His not-so-protective shell made into a puzzle with a thousand tiny pieces in a box with his omelette kit of a body on the cover. Honestly, like who really gives a damn what the kidneys and spleen of a dead washed-up actor look like? Half of sick, degenerate America apparently.
But these six eggs were like starting to freak me out a bit. Summer’s always going ape-shit-crazy about Salmonella and raw chicken and cooking foods to the right temperature and all that Emril Lagasse boloney. So I doubted very much that like she had placed them there. Summer? The girl who’ll only put the gallon of milk on the left side of the fridge three inches behind the Smuckers butterscotch ice cream topping so as not to upset the Feng Shui vibe in the room? Naa, she didn’t put them there.
I stood close to the table now. Close enough to lean over the six eggs. Hmmm. One was cracked, one was smaller than the others. And two. Two were like brown. I’d never seen brown eggs before. They looked the color of a girl I dated in college, before I dropped out to learn TV/VCR repair. Now no one’s got a VCR, and I lost the brown egg girl.
I definitely lost the brown girl.
I heard a noise somewhere else in the apartment, jumped with a start, and my hand inadvertently pushed one brown egg toward the edge of the honey-colored table. It rolled, almost in slow motion, and over the edge it went. I lunged toward the egg as it fell in what seemed like slow motion.
After Lewis’s dad died, we all were a little different. Lewis’s mom and sisters, too. All of us. The three of us, Karl, Lewis, and I were best friends. I had been dating Lewis for about a year when his sister Lana called to tell us that Lyle committed suicide. He hadn’t worked in over a year. And he couldn’t even get any B-movie gigs. So he went to the hotel where his first ever movie role was filmed in 1974, and jumped from the thirty-second floor, where he had the famous line that was even on Jeopardy! once. I used to misquote it, but Lewis has it tattooed on my brain now. It goes like this: “No, I don’t know the meaning of life, but I do know I’m gonna make us some damn eggs then I’m gonna make love to you as if I’m dyin’ tomorrow. ‘Cause that’s all that matters, Grace, is you and the goddamn eggs.” Lewis has known it by heart, of course, since he was eight.
Karl always makes morbid jokes about a sponge, but it was really sad. And all the LA Times could muster was a business card sized article on how J. Lyle Jones had quote plunged to his death. The coroner has ruled it a suicide. A gifted character actor, Jones was a staple in many 70s B-movies end quote. Then they printed his famous line. They put a ‘g’ on the end of dyin’, and it got Lewis pretty upset. After the spot ran in the Times, Lewis would scream over and over, “It’s dyin’ tomorrow! It’s NOT dying tomorrow! And it’s ‘cause NOT BEcause. Jesus!”
Now six months later and Lewis can’t get over it. His mother Greta finally got the horrible pictures off the internet. She just sits and watches The Food Network all day.
Which reminds me of the eggs. There were five eggs on the kitchen table. I think the brown one was supposed to be me. As if someone around Lewis and me has trouble with me being black and him being white. I tossed the brown one high and arcing in the air, right into the sink. Heard it splat an unusual splat, but couldn’t see it. And then I thought about Lyle.
Screw the Times! My father didn’t succumb to that 70s film politics. That’s why he didn’t work. But he made some influential films. His films mattered. Man, even Vincent Schiavelli got an obit and a quarter page. Screw the Times, man!
My father’s agent told me that the morning my father died he had gotten a job offer from some audition he had done two weeks before. Some B-film. The paycheck would’ve been decent.
I had been to the jewelers to find the perfect ring for Summer. I want her to be my wife. I should’ve asked her when my father was alive, so he could’ve been there. Oh well. I found the perfect ring. I don’t remember the carats and all that stuff, but it just looked like her. I really want her to be my wife forever. The big German will be my best man, but he’s gotta move out of the apartment. Who’s gonna cook his eggs for him on Sunday mornings while we all watch “Face the Nation”? He can come over I guess.
Those must’ve been his eggs on the table the other day when I got back from the jeweler. I walked in and saw them there. Figured he was doing something with them. Some recipe from that BAM! guy on TV. I took my shower. Couldn’t stop thinking about my father and those internet pictures. I never should’ve looked. Jesus! I felt like I was one of those eggs on the table, and I was starting to boil in water. Maybe get hard boiled for Easter. Just sit in the bottom of the pot, letting little bubbles seep out until my insides become solid and motionless. Then someone can come along and strip away my outsides and get to the real me. Maybe Summer can do that. No one pulled away my father’s shell, and then it was too late. He was like Humpty Dumpty just sitting up there, an accident waiting to happen. It’s the wall he was sitting on. It never should’ve been there in the first place.
So when I got out of the shower I slammed the bathroom door. I suppose because of my father. I’m just upset things happened the way they did. I just didn’t know things were that bad. And that damn Times article. Jesus!
I smoked a bit of grass then went to the pub for a beer. Summer was due home at seven.
That night after we made love and before the big German got home, I noticed only four eggs left on the table. I threw them in the trash. There’s no way they were any good at that point.
That B-film role for my father that I mentioned? It was a chicken farmer. The role was to be a goddamn chicken farmer. Maybe he could’ve said to one of the chickens, “ ‘Cause that’s all that matters, Grace, is you and the goddamn eggs.”
IV. Lewis’s sister, Lana (on the answering machine)
Hey, guys. My friend Adrianna, you know the one I told you about? She’s incubating baby chicks and I dropped six off to you. I suppose they need to be kept warm. She wasn’t home when I took them, but, anyway, they’re on your kitchen table. They’ll be chicks in time for Easter. Love you all. Bye.
V. Greta Marlene Jones (Lewis’s mother)
(Watching The Food Network) Ahhh ... Hungarian paprika!
VI. J. Lyle Jones ( Lewis’s father)
(Archival footage) “No, I don’t know the meaning of life, but I do know I’m gonna make us some damn eggs then I’m gonna make love to you as if I’m dyin’ tomorrow. ‘Cause that’s all that matters, Grace, is you and the goddamn eggs.”
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